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The Metro Transit Green Line LRT opens on Saturday, June 14th. This $957 million transit project, which began in 2010, runs from Target Field in Minneapolis through the heart of the University of Minnesota campus to Union Depot in St. Paul. The U of M is a major destination along the new line. Along with several new construction and redevelopment projects, Washington Avenue on the East Bank has been transformed into a transit-pedestrian mall reserved for trains, buses, pedestrians, and cyclists.

The following University of Minnesota researchers are available to provide a variety of perspectives on this major transit project and what it means for the Twin Cities:

  • Transit and economic development: Yingling Fan, assistant professor at the Humphrey School of Public Affairs and a leading researcher for the Transitway Impacts Research Program
  • Transit and accessibility: Andrew Owen, director of the Accessibility Observatory
  • Transit and traffic flow: John Hourdos, director of the Minnesota Traffic Observatory
  • Transit and multimodal travel: Greg Lindsey, professor at the Humphrey School of Public Affairs

To schedule an interview with any of these experts, please contact: Michael McCarthy, Center for Transportation Studies, mpmccarthy@umn.edu, 612-624-3645.

Top three Catalyst stories of 2013

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The CTS Catalyst's most popular stories of 2013 reflected the wide range of transportation research conducted at the University of Minnesota:

Photo courtesy Carissa Schively Slotterback

  1. New Complete Streets materials highlight best practices, assist practitioners

  2. Complete Streets—roads that are designed and operated to enable safe access for all users—offer many benefits, including improved safety, mobility, accessibility, public health, and quality of life. However, much of the work surrounding Complete Streets to date has focused on creating policies and guidelines rather than investigating the processes and action steps needed to successfully implement projects. In an effort to fill this knowledge gap, researchers from the Humphrey School of Public Affairs have conducted a study on the planning and implementation of successful Complete Streets projects. The study includes the development of 11 case studies highlighting best practices and a practitioner-oriented guidebook.

  3. Highly obese truck drivers have higher crash risk, according to new research

  4. Highly obese commercial truck drivers have a much higher crash rate in their first two years on the job than their normal-weight counterparts, according to research from the University of Minnesota Morris. The findings come from a multi-year study led by Stephen Burks, an associate professor of economics and management at Morris and a former truck driver.

  5. New SMART Signal installation helps MnDOT monitor timing plans

  6. Researchers from the U of M recently developed a new version of software for the SMART Signal system, and deployments at more than 50 intersections managed by the Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT) are already under way. SMART Signal automatically collects and processes data from traffic signal controllers at multiple intersections and creates performance measures, including information on the times and locations congestion occurs on a roadway. In addition to these new implementations, a new MnDOT-funded study investigated how SMART Signal could be used as part of an integrated corridor management system.

Congestion-reduction measures on I-35W: How well do they work?

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congestion.jpgIn an effort to combat congestion in our country’s urban areas, the United States Department of Transportation launched the Urban Partnership Agreement (UPA) program in 2007. The program infused nearly $900 million into transportation-related projects in four cities nationwide, including the Twin Cities metropolitan area. Minnesota’s projects—which include the installation of MnPASS dynamic toll lanes and variable message signs—focused on improving traffic flow in the I-35W corridor between Minneapolis and the city’s southern suburbs.

To understand the effectiveness of measures implemented under the UPA program, a team of University of Minnesota researchers examined three separate but related areas: the effects of a new variable speed limit (VSL) system, the impact of severe weather conditions on road safety, and the behavior and traffic impacts of bus rapid transit operations. Their work was funded by the Intelligent Transportation Systems Institute, a part of CTS.

Key findings included:

  • Drivers don't typically comply with advisory speed limits posted on VSL signs along the I-35W corridor during congested conditions, but they may use them to help gauge and prepare for downstream congestion—resulting in a smoother and possibly safer traffic flow
  • Some parts of the corridor's shoulder lanes—which are opened to traffic during specific times of the day as part of the UPA program—contain low areas that can flood during heavy rains
  • Buses traveling on the corridor underuse the MnPASS lane. In addition, bus lane changes (from stations located in the median to those located on the right side of the highway) can generate visible disturbances during moderate and heavy congestion, but they don't seem to contribute to the breakdown of traffic flow

For more information, read the full article in the September issue of Catalyst.


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Center for Transportation Studies

University of Minnesota

200 Transportation & Safety Building

511 Washington Ave SE

Minneapolis, MN 55455

Phone: 612-626-1077

Fax: 612-625-6381

E-mail: cts@umn.edu

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